This week, the professors at Brooklynology bring us snapshots from two different eras of our borough’s food history.
First, a look at the golden age of bagels: Fresh from the early 70s and hot off the 16mm reel, here’s a totally entertaining vintage film looking at the bagel craft in Brooklyn. It captures the artisanal spirit of a distant decade, but feels refreshingly familiar today. It also made us run out to get bagels immediately.
Second, we have a quick look back at a chef obsessed with local and sustainably-sourced fare decades before such monikers had any meaning. Chef Alfred Foffe of Montague Street’s Maison Foffe became famous in the 1930′s for his passion for hunting the game he served in his restaurant. To entice the neighborhood’s locavores to stop in, he hung the remains of his quarry from the eaves of the restaurant, out on the street for all to see. While interest in wild game as an alternative to industrially-produced meat is growing, modern health laws will probably prevent today’s chefs from adopting Alfred’s marketing strategy.
Forager to the Stars
Foodies might drool over the haute cuisine at spots like Ssam bar, but the real intrigue behind many of the city’s most artfully-constructed dishes begins in places like the forests of Maine and the foothills of Virginia, where master forager Evan Strusinski furtively combs the landscape in search of wild treasures for some of the nation’s top chefs. Part explorer and part chef, Strusinski is on the leading edge of the new food explorers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in search of the next great ingredient. See The Wall Street Journal’s profile of Evan here.
In the UK, where foraging has caught fire, waves of mushroom seekers tramping through forests has caused some alarm. Experts say that small-scale foraging is fine for the environment, but warn against repeatedly harvesting in the same spots. What have you started, Jamie Oliver?
Meet the Robicellis
Have you sampled the confectionary wonders coming out of the Allison and Matt Robicellis’ cupcake laboratory in Bay Ridge? If so, you’ve probably wondered about the people behind their outrageously creative treats. Liza De Guia of Food Curated spent some time hanging out with the Robicellis. Check out her video on these Brooklyn confectionary talents here.
Craft Goes Capitalist
Edible takes a look at the struggles many of our local food artisans have faced as they’ve created working businesses out of their passions for good food. For all the attention and praise that many of these rising food stars have garnered, there clearly ain’t nuttin’ easy about starting an artisanal food business.
Carroll Gardens Chicken Farm
The South Brooklyn Post profiles Martha Lazar, a pioneer of the increasingly popular backyard chicken movement in Brooklyn and visits her chicken coop in Carroll Gardens.
Williamsburg Restaurant Rankings
Looking for dinner plans for the next 20 weeks? Free Williamsburg is here to help. They’ve published a helpful list of their top 20 restaurant picks in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. Those of you who’ve been having trouble choosing dining destinations due to the daunting number of establishments serving good food in North Brooklyn will find a good starting place here.
Brooklyn Flea’s Eric Demby on Heritage Radio
This week on Heritage Radio’s Hot Grease, Nicole Taylor talks to Eric Demby about Brooklyn Flea and to Fernando Music about ‘The Next Big Small Brand.’ Tune in to hear Demby describe what makes “The Flea” a community building project, and why it’s OK to get there at 6am. Fernando also explains the process for choosing The Next Big Small Brand, and how you can still enter the contest to have your new food product enter the limelight.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Everywhere
Halloween is gone for another year, but pumpkins are still in season. It seems that each year the pumpkin edges it’s way into more spots on more menus than in years past. Want to try working pumpkin into your home cooking? The Wall Street Journal offers simple recipes for pumpkin and squash dishes from 13 chefs.